Water Management and Irrigation - Planning Commissi ?· Water Management and Irrigation ... to over-exploitation…

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  • 2Water Management and Irrigation

    INTRODUCTION2.1 Sustainable development and efficient manage-ment of water is an increasingly complex challenge inIndia. Increasing population, growing urbanization,and rapid industrialization combined with the needfor raising agricultural production generates compet-ing claims for water. There is a growing perception ofa sense of an impending water crisis in the country.Some manifestations of this crisis are:

    There is hardly any city which receives a 24-hoursupply of drinking water.

    Many rural habitations which had been coveredunder the drinking water programme are now be-ing reported as having slipped back with target datesfor completion continuously pushed back. Thereare pockets where arsenic, nitrate, and fluoride indrinking water are posing a serious health hazard.

    In many parts, the groundwater table declines dueto over-exploitation imposing an increasing finan-cial burden on farmers who need to deepen theirwells and replace their pump sets and on StateGovernments whose subsidy burden for electricitysupplies rises.

    Many major and medium irrigation (MMI) projectsseem to remain under execution forever as they slipfrom one plan to the other with enormous cost andtime overruns.

    Owing to lack of maintenance, the capacity of theolder systems seems to be going down.

    The gross irrigated area does not seem to be risingin a manner that it should be, given the investment

    in irrigation. The difference between potentialcreated and area actually irrigated remains large.Unless we bridge the gap, significant increase inagricultural production will be difficult to realize.

    Floods are a recurring problem in many partsof the country. Degradation of catchment areasand loss of flood plains to urban developmentand agriculture have accentuated the intensity offloods.

    Water quality in our rivers and lakes is far from sat-isfactory. Water in most parts of rivers is not fit forbathing, let alone drinking. Untreated or partiallytreated sewage from towns and cities is beingdumped into the rivers.

    Untreated or inadequately treated industrial efflu-ents pollute water bodies and also contaminategroundwater.

    At the same time water conflicts are increasing.Apart from the traditional conflicts about waterrights between upper and lower riparians in a river,conflicts about quality of water, peoples right forrainwater harvesting in a watershed against down-stream users, industrial use of groundwater andits impact on water tables and between urban andrural users have emerged.

    2.2 India with 2.4% of the worlds total area has 16%of the worlds population; but has only 4% of the totalavailable fresh water. This clearly indicates the needfor water resource development, conservation, andoptimum use. Fortunately, at a macro level India is notshort of water. The problems that seem to loom large

  • 44 Eleventh Five Year Plan

    over the sector are manageable and the challenges fac-ing it are not insurmountable.


    WATER RESOURCES2.3 The water resource potential of the country hasbeen assessed from time to time by different agencies.The different estimates are shown in Table 2.1. It maybe seen that since 1954, the estimates have stabilizedand are within the proximity of the currently acceptedestimate of 1869 billion cubic metre (bcm) whichincludes replenishable groundwater which gets chargedon annual basis.

    TABLE 2.1Estimates of Water Resources in India

    Agency Estimate Deviationin from

    bcm 1869 bcm

    First Irrigation Commission (190203) 1443 23%Dr A.N. Khosla (1949) 1673 10%Central Water and Power Commission

    (195466) 1881 +0.6%National Commission on Agriculture 1850 1%Central Water Commission (1988) 1880 +0.6%Central Water Commission (1993) 1869

    UTILIZABLE WATER RESOURCES POTENTIAL2.4 Within the limitations of physiographic condi-tions, socio-political environment, legal and constitu-tional constraints, and the technology available at hand,the utilizable water resources of the country have beenassessed at 1123 bcm, of which 690 bcm is from sur-face water and 433 bcm from groundwater sources(CWC, 1993). Harnessing of 690 bcm of utilizablesurface water is possible only if matching storages arebuilt. Trans-basin transfer of water, if taken up to thefull extent as proposed under the National PerspectivePlan, would further increase the utilizable quantity byapproximately 220 bcm. The irrigation potential of thecountry has been estimated to be 139.9 MH withoutinter-basin sharing of water and 175 MH with inter-basin sharing.

    2.5 While the total water resource availability in thecountry remains constant, the per capita availabilityof water has been steadily declining since 1951 due to

    population growth. The twin indicators of water scar-city are per capita availability and storage. A per capitaavailability of less than 1700 cubic metres (m3) istermed as a water-stressed condition while if per capitaavailability falls below 1000 m3, it is termed as a water-scarcity condition. While on an average we may benearing the water-stressed condition, on an individualriver basin-wise situation, nine out of our 20 riverbasins with 200 million populations are alreadyfacing a water-scarcity condition. Even after construct-ing 4525 large and small dams, the per capita storagein the country is 213 m3 as against 6103 m3 in Russia,4733 m3 in Australia, 1964 m3 in the United States (US),and 1111 m3 of China. It may touch 400 m3 in Indiaonly after the completion of all the ongoing andproposed dams.

    ULTIMATE IRRIGATION POTENTIAL (UIP)2.6 The demand for irrigation water in India is verylarge. However, the limits to storage and transfer ofwater restrict the potential for irrigation. UIP reassessedby the Committee constituted by the MoWR in May1997, the potential created, and the potential utilizedup to end of the Tenth Plan are given in Table 2.2.

    2.7 The assessment of UIP needs to be periodicallyreviewed to account for revision in scope, technologi-cal advancement, inter-basin transfer of water, inducedrecharging of groundwater, etc. The creation of irriga-tion potential depends upon the efficiency of thesystem for delivering the water and its optimal use atthe application level. With the modern techniques ofintegrating micro irrigation with canal irrigation as hasbeen done in the case of Narmada Canal Project,Rajasthan, the UIP can further be increased. Similarlyin the case of groundwater, innovative methods ofrecharging the groundwater and also storing water inflood plains along the river banks may enhance the UIPfrom groundwater to more than 64 MH.

    WATER FOR NATURE2.8 The question of a trade-off between competingclaims on water becomes most important in the con-text of ecological requirement. The National WaterPolicy (NWP) places ecology in the fourth place inthe order of priorities for water use. Yet, there is a gen-eral agreement amongst all that any water diversion

  • Water Management and Irrigation 45

    needs to take care of river ecosystem downstream.The problem is of quantifying the Environment FlowReleases (EFR), that is the flow required for maintain-ing ecosystems. Usable water will be reduced to thatextent. During 200405, the Ministry of Environmentand Forests (MoEF) appointed a committee headedby Member, Central Water Commission (CWC), todevelop guidelines for determining the EFR. Thecommittee submitted its report in 2005. Dependingon what the final accepted recommendation is,the minimum flow required for maintaining theriver regime and environment will be decided andconsidered in water resources development and man-agement.

    CLIMATE CHANGE AND UNCERTAINTY INWATER AVAILABILITY2.9 The threat of climate change is now consideredan established fact. General Circulation Models simu-late the behaviour of the atmosphere and paint whatif scenarios for various levels of greenhouse gas emis-sions. Using these models the weather experts havepredicted that global warming will intensify the hy-drologic cycle; more intense rainfall will occur in fewerspells; floods and droughts both will become moreintense; the floods will be more frequent; the rainfallwill shift towards winter; and there may be a signifi-cant reduction in the mass of glaciers, resulting in in-creased flows in the initial few decades but substantiallyreduced flows thereafter.

    2.10 The MoWR has already initiated some studies inco-operation with research institutions and reputed

    academic institutions to assess the impact of climatechange on water resources.

    2.11 The hydrologists are yet to translate what climatechange means for the water availability, its distributionin time and space, and changes in demand. An increasein mean temperatures would increase the energyflux for evapo-transpiration. The increased potentialevapo-transpiration in the forests could trigger majorchanges in the environment, and it would result in anincreased crop water requirement in the farms. Thechanges in seasonal temperatures could change the cropseasons. Enough data is now available to paint what if scenarios for different possibilities, and to formulatesome tentative plans to respond to these possibilities.

    2.12 In the post-climate change scenario, systems thatare more resilient will fare better than systems that areless resilient. Engineering infrastructure that enablesthe water managers to store and transfer water withgreater certainty can reduce the impact of uncertainty.Climate change considerations need to be factored inas we plan water resource infrastructure.

    WATER REQUIREMENT2.13 The requirement of water for various sectors hasbeen assessed by the National Commission on Inte-grated Water Resources Development (NCIWRD) inthe year 2000. This requirement is based on the as-sumption that the irrigation efficiency will increase to60% from the present level of 3540%. The StandingCommittee of MoWR also assesses it periodically.These are shown in Table 2.3.

    TABLE 2.2Ultimate Irrigation Potential, Potential Created and Potential Utilized

    (in MH)

    Sector Ultimate Potential Created Potential Utilized

    Irrigation Till End of Anticipated Till end of Anticipated

    Potential Ninth Plan in Tenth Plan Ninth Plan in Tenth Plan

    MMI 58.47 37.05 5.3 31.01 3.41


    Surface water 17.38 13.6 0.71 11.44 0.56

    Groundwater 64.05 43.3 2.81 38.55 2.26

    Subtotal 81.43 56.9 3.52 49.99 2.82

    Total 139.9 93.95 8.82 81.00 6.23

  • 46 Eleventh Five Year Plan


    HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT2.14 The planned development of irrigation sectorstarted in a big way since the First Five Year Plan(195156). New projects were taken up in the SecondFive Year Plan, the Third Five Year Plan, and theAnnual Plans 196669. During the Fourth Five YearPlan emphasis was shifted to the completion of ongo-ing schemes. The widening gap between potentialcreation and utilization was felt in the Fifth Plan (197478) and accordingly Command Area Development(CAD) programme was launched. The Annual Plans197880 and the Sixth Plan witnessed new starts andthen the focus was shifted towards completion ofirrigation projects. By the end of the Eighth Plan(199697), central assistance was provided under AIBPto help the State Governments in early completion ofthe projects.

    2.15 Although plan expenditure on irrigation hasincreased from Rs 441.8 crore in the First Plan toRs 95743.42 crore (outlay) in the Tenth Plan, the sharein total plan expenditure has decreased from 23%in the First Plan to 6.3% in the Tenth Plan. The trendsin change of per cent of total plan expenditure on irri-gation sector are shown in Figure 2.1.

    2.16 The anticipated irrigation potential created upto March 2007 is 102.77 MH, which is 73.46% ofthe UIP of 140 MH. MMI projects have an UIP of58.47 MH against which irrigation potential created is42.35 MH. MI potential created is 60.42 MH againstthe UIP of 81.43 MH. The irrigation potential creationand its corresponding utilization during the planperiods is given in Annexure 2.1.

    2.17 The gross irrigated area in the country is only87.23 MH. With an average irrigation intensity of140%, the actual net irrigated area is likely to bearound 62.31 MH, which is only 43% of the net sownarea of the country (142 MH). Even after achievingthe UIP of 139.89 MH. and considering the averageirrigation intensity of 140%, the ultimate irrigatedarea in the country would be only 70% of the netsown area.

    2.18 The increasing difference between irrigationpotential created and utilized is ascribed to a numberof reasons. Irrigation systems are designed for exten-sive irrigation for a 75% confidence level. Thus wateravailability in some basins would be less the designedamount. Excess withdrawal by farmers near the head

    TABLE 2.3Water Requirement for Various Sectors

    Sector Water Demand in km3 (or bcm)

    Standing Sub- NCIWRDCommittee of MoWR

    2010 2025 2050 2010 2025 2050

    Irrigation 688 910 1072 557 611 807Drinking water 56 73 102 43 62 111Industry 12 23 63 37 67 81Energy 5 15 130 19 33 70Others 52 72 80 54 70 111

    Total 813 1093 1447 710 843 1180

    FIGURE 2.1: Expenditure on Irrigation







    1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000











  • Water Management and Irrigation 47

    of canals deprives farmers at the tail end of water.Inadequate development of field channels, required tobe developed by farmers, contribute to the gap. Themissing links or breaks in the canal network mayalso reduce utilization. A part of this gap can be re-duced by command area development programmes.Under the CAD Programme, 311 projects [with totalculturable command area (CCA) of 28.58 MH] havebeen included so far. Till the end of March 2006, theconstruction of field channels has been completed inan area of 17.43 MH. The programme is presentlybeing implemented in 136 projects with total CCA of17.06 MH.

    2.19 Details of the physical progress achieved inrespect of core components under the Command AreaDevelopment and Water Management (CADWM)Programme during the Tenth Plan till the end of March2006 and progress likely to be achieved till end of TenthPlan are given in Table 2.4.

    2.20 The total anticipated State share expenditure forthe Tenth Plan under the CADWM Programme worksout to Rs 1591.57 crore.


    Physical and Financial Performance2.21 The potential creation target fixed for the TenthPlan by the Planning Commission was 9.93 MH. It wasrevised to 6.5 MH during the MTA of the Plan. Theperformance during the first three years of the TenthPlan and anticipated performance for remaining twoyears is given in Table 2.5.

    Completion of Projects2.22 A total number of 490 projects spilled into theTenth Plan from previous plans, and another 231projects were to be taken up during the Tenth Plan.Besides, based on the current financial and physicalstatus of the projects, it was also anticipated that 103major, 210 medium, and 62 extension, renovation, andmodernization (ERM) projects could be completedwith adequate provision of funds. Since irrigation is aState subject, the projects are largely executed by StateGovernments. The Working Group f...


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